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Jul 28, 2011

PROTO’s Back to School Drive and fundraiser for Tarrell Sutherland

Mark Usher

Summer Camps aren’t the only staples that we report on regularly in July and August. It’s also a time when parents are trying hard to cut down on expenses while looking for extra income to pay for the upcoming school year. Books, fees, and uniforms are only some of the baggage that parents carry with them all summer long.  That’s why PROTO, headed by Mark Usher, is in its third year of its Back to School drive.  Usher says that this year PROTO is also seeking to help Tarell Sutherland, the boy who has a rare skin disease.

Mark Usher, President of PROTO

“We don’t ask you to go into your pockets and buy new stuff. We say look in your closet, look in your drawers, look under your beds, do you have used shoes, used tennis, used school bags, used uniforms that is in good condition. We don’t want you to bring us the stuff that can’t be used again. And if you have those, donate it to PROTO. What PROTO does in turn, PROTO takes those items and go to schools for the uniforms and we liaise with principal and teachers—and they normally know who has the need—and there is where we make the connection and pass over those items. You literally have kids who don’t go to school because they don’t have shoes or uniforms and the other kids tease them. If we can help any child in that situation, it makes it easy and our methodology is very simple—it is cost effective, we don’t ask you to spend any money; we just ask you to just take the stuff you don’t use or you can spare and let’s share it around.”

Jose Sanchez

“In addition to that, there is also the issue of Tarrell Sutherland.”

Mark Usher

“Definitely. The second thing we are doing (launching) this week is the phase three of the Tarrell Sutherland support. We made a long term commitment to Tarrell last year. Tarrell has gone for his medication, he has been back. In our phase two, we actually got eighty percent construction for the air conditioned room that we had promised that we would build. All that is pending is some roof material, some windows and some doors. So what we decided to do is a couple barbecue fundraisers. These barbecues will start tomorrow and it goes for the next three weeks. We will do it right at the Cinderella Plaza Taxi Stand and it is going to be the typical chicken, fish and ribs and all of that stuff—good quality stuff. The meats are being seasoned and prepared by Smiling Meats so you know you’re getting your quality; regular prices. When you support the barbecue, what will we do with that cash? We will offset the cost to get Tarrell and Nicole back their visas—you know visas have a little cost. We will probably a lot a thousand dollars to finish the air-conditioned room. We already had an air-conditioner donated. And then we’d also need to buy two plane tickets so Tarrell and Nicole can go back so he can get more treatment. Why is it important for him to go back, because based on what Nicole told us, the doctor has said that by age sixteen, seventeen, Tarrell will be in a much better condition. But for him to be there, he has to continuously have rehab and medication from this age.”

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